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Second Edition Cycling News, Monday, August 10, 2009

Date published:
August 10, 2009, 1:00 BST
  • Organisers and competitors hail UK's inaugural Tour Series

    Ed Clancy wins the Blackpool Nocturne.
    Article published:
    August 10, 2009, 10:16 BST
    Susan Westemeyer

    Race's provide cycling boost to host venues

    Organisers and competitors involved in the inaugural Tour Series are hailing the British cycling events as a huge success. They say the series of 10 urban road races attracted a total of 100,000 spectators and boosted cycling in the towns and cities where they were held.

    “City centre racing has made a spectacular return to the UK,” said John Herety, team manager for Rapha-Condor. "The success of this year’s Tour Series events has given riders and teams the ideal platform to show off themselves and their sponsors on national TV. The new team format had both cyclists and non-cyclists hooked to the very last round."

    The races were televised in hour-long shows on ITV4. Hugh Roberts, chief executive officer of SweetSpot Group, co-organisers of the Tour Series with Cyclevox, said: “Thanks to the event being broadcast on TV, members of the public who were not able to attend any of the events in person were able to enjoy a full hour’s worth of racing the following evening. In addition, our partner towns and cities were able to show viewers and spectators what they had to offer, resulting in a boost in their tourism offerings.”

    Organisers cited the following examples of how host venues have benefited from the Tour Series:

    - Chester: Race attracted 12,000 spectators who boosted the city's economy by £500,000.
    - Exeter: Bike shops reported having some of their busiest ever days following the Tour Series race. Cycling Demonstration Town project team have seen unprecedented interest in cycling.
    - Peterborough: 8,500 extra people in the city centre spending money, and schools ran activities on the day of the Tour Series to get children interested in cycling.

    The Tour Series started on 21 May in Milton Keynes and ended in Southend on Sea on 25 June. Ten teams of five professional cyclists competed to place their top three riders in the highest positions at the end of a period of...

  • Steegmans returns to racing

    Gert Steegmans in Moscow at the start of the year for the Katusha presentation. The contract between the two was dissolved this week
    Article published:
    August 10, 2009, 10:38 BST
    Susan Westemeyer

    Could Steegmans ride with Cavendish in 2010?

    Gert Steegmans has returned to racing for the first time since June, finishing eighth in a criterium in Wolvertem, Belgium, this weekend. Steegmans wore the kit of his private sponsor BBB, a bike parts company, and has been linked to Mark Cavendish's Columbia team for next year.

    Steegmans announced last week that he and Team Katusha had agreed to cancel his contract for the remainder of the season. However the team had denied that and claimed that the contract was still valid, after placing the rider on inactive status for refusing to sign its anti-doping charter.

    Steegmans' manager Paul De Geyter is due to return from holiday today, "and I suspect that he will immediately get into action. I don't want to find just find any new team . I don't need to race any more this season." The most important aspect, Steegmans said, was to find a team , "where I feel at home."

    The two teams rumoured  to be interested in his signature are Bbox Bouygues Telecom and Columbia-HTC. Alan Peiper, Columbia Directeur Sportif, told La Derniere Heure, "We don't see him as part of the Cavendish sprint train, but rather as a candidate for the Spring Classics."

    The 28-year-old didn't comment on either team, saying, "I do not respond to the names I've seen appearing in the press. But occasionally I have a good laugh over one or the other."

    For now, Steemgans just seemed happy to be racing again: "It was a pleasure to wear a race number again," he told the Gazet van Antwerpen.

  • Deignan coming into form for Tour of Ireland

    Philip Deignan
    Article published:
    August 10, 2009, 10:41 BST
    Shane Stokes

    Looking good for Vuelta selection?

    Irish professional Philip Deignan hasn’t raced much since this year’s Giro d’Italia, but the climber is showing signs that he is coming into good form in advance of the Tour of Ireland, which runs from August 21st – 23rd.

    The Cervélo Test Team rider was involved in an early seven-man break on yesterday’s final stage of the Vuelta a Burgos. He attacked the move and tried to solo to the summit finish of Lagunas de Neila but was finally overhauled inside the final four kilometres. He had enough left to take tenth on the stage, and net tenth overall behind race winner Alejandro Valverde (Caisse d’Epargne).

    “I felt really good today and made it in the break away", he said afterwards. "I stayed there until we had only 3.5 km to go. It was a very good race for me, and overall the Vuelta a Burgos was very positive. I had a longer break after the Giro and competed in just a few races after that.

    “I must say I felt better day-by-day and now feel prepared to participate in my home race, the Tour of Ireland, next week. I’m really motivated and looking forward to this event."

    After finishing fifth on a mountain stage and seventh overall in the Vuelta a Castilla y León earlier this season, Deignan was selected to ride the Giro d’Italia. He finished fifth on a stage there but any chance of a high overall placing was affected by a succession of crashes.

    The 25-year-old fell hard early on in the race, and went on to have another four spills, including one in the final time trial in Rome. There had been talk that he could make his Tour de France debut this year but, battered and bruised, the team decided to send others instead.

    Another Grand Tour could well be on the cards, however. Cervélo has said that the announcement of the team lineup for the Vuelta will be made this week, and his strong Burgos showing and improving form makes it likely he will be...

  • Pereiro to miss Vuelta a España

    Oscar Pereiro (Caisse d'Epargne)
    Article published:
    August 10, 2009, 12:19 BST
    Richard Tyler

    Caisse d'Epargne name seven riders for Spanish Grand Tour

    Óscar Pereiro will not race this year’s Vuelta a España as he continues to recover from the fatigue that saw him withdraw from this year’s Tour de France after eight stages.

    Italian cycling website Tuttobiciweb reported on Monday that the 2006 Tour de France winner has not been named in Caisse d’Epargne's pre-selection for the final Grand Tour of the season.

    Pereiro withdrew from the Tour de France on July 11 citing accumulated fatigue, 90 kilometres into stage eight from Andorra La Vella to St Girons. At the time he said that he expected to return at the Vuelta.

    "I have had very bad sensations since the Tour started from Monaco," Pereiro told Cyclingnews. “It was no use to go on like that and I prefer to concentrate on my next objective which should be the Tour of Spain."

    According to Tuttobiciweb, Caisse d'Epargne have selected seven riders to compete at the Vuelta a España, that begins on August 29.

    Joaquim Rodríguez, Alberto Losada, Imanol Erviti, Txente García, Francisco Pérez and Daniel Moreno have been selected to support team leader, Alejandro Valverde.

    Valverde confirmed his ambition to win the Vuelta a España after he claimed the general classification victory at the Vuelta a Burgos on Sunday.

    Vasil Kiryienka, David López, Luis Pasamontes and Xabier Zandio are the riders expected to compete for the final two positions available on the nine-man roster.

  • Greipel back to his winning ways

    Andre Greipel takes the sprint on the final stage
    Article published:
    August 10, 2009, 12:25 BST
    Susan Westemeyer

    German surpasses 2008 wins in Poland

    Andre Greipel of Team Columbia-HTC won the final stage of the Tour of Poland after missing out on earlier stages of the race. The win means he has 15 victories for the year so far; one more than he had all of last season. His total this year is made even more significant after he missed four and a half months due to shoulder surgery earlier this year.

    The German sprinter finished second, sixth and third in the first three mass sprints in Poland. He told Cyclingnews that the missed opportunities were purely his own fault. "Although the team worked really well, I made beginner's mistakes, like being in a bad position or going into the wind too early. I wanted to make it all perfect."

    In addition, on the fourth stage, after finishing second in the sprint, he was relegated to last place, for an incident involving Quick Step's Alan Davis. Greipel acknowledged his guilt and apologized to the Australian.

    Greipel started the season by winning the first stage of the Tour Down Under, but left the race after colliding with a motorcycle in the third stage. The injury to his shoulder required surgery and a long recuperation. However, he returned in May to the Four Days of Dunkirk. There he won the final stage, and went on to win the next 13 mass sprints that he faced.

    That streak was broken in Poland. "For one thing, my sprint rivals were very strong," he said. "And sometime I had to lose another sprint. Places two and three aren't really so bad."

    Overall, the race was satisfactory, as he won one stage and teammate Edvald Boasson Hagen not only won two stages but also finished third overall. "We made our impression on the race. There is nothing to complain about."

    The next race for the 27-year-old is the Vattenfall Cyclassics in Hamburg on August 16. The north German race generally ends in a mass sprint, and "we will of course try to win there." From there he heads south, to the...

  • United States to be allowed nine riders for Worlds road race

    A USA National Team rider readies himself by taking a quiet moment on the start line.
    Article published:
    August 10, 2009, 15:31 BST
    Richard Tyler

    Astana and Garmin riders help US to tenth in UCI World rankings

    The United States will send the maximum quota of nine riders for next month's World Championship road race after the International Cycling Union (UCI) released its latest World rankings on Monday. The UCI calculated the standings after the Tour of Poland's conclusion on Saturday. The United States dropped one place, but maintained its position as one of the top 10 nations this season.

    The bulk of the United States' total of 389 UCI points came from a relatively small selection of riders from two ProTour teams.

    Lance Armstrong provided the biggest contribution to the total for the US. The 37-year-old's third place finish at the Tour de France brought his season tally to 150 points. Armstrong's Astana teammate Levi Leipheimer collected 79 points at May's Giro d'Italia.

    Garmin-Slipstream's Christian Vande Velde has 78 points and sprinter Tyler Farrar's consistent performances throughout the season netted him 73 points.

    Sending the full nine-rider team marks a return to the top for the United States, which qualified in the second tier of nations for last year's championships in Varese, Italy. Steven Cozza (Garmin-Slipstream) was the best placed rider of six riders on the 2008 team. He finished 23rd, 1:40 behind World Champion Alessandro Ballan of Italy.

    The increased number of riders will be an advantage for the United States this year on a tough World Championship course in Mendrisio, Switzerland. The men's race will cover 262 kilometres over 19 laps and includes almost 14,000 feet (4,655 meters) of climbing.

    Armstrong was the last American to win the World Championships. He won the 1993 race in Oslo, Norway, and joined Greg LeMond as the only other American winner of the elite World Championship road title. LeMond won two titles, one in 1983 and again in 1989.

  • Norway to send as many riders as possible to Worlds road race

    Thor Hushovd (Cervélo TestTeam) with Norwegian fans.
    Article published:
    August 10, 2009, 17:04 BST
    Richard Tyler

    NCF confirm Hushovd and Boasson Hagen in squad

    The Norwegian cycling federation, Norges Cykleforbund (NCF), will send as many riders as it can to the men's elite World Championship road race, on September 27. The nation was ranked ninth in the latest round of the International Cycling Union's (UCI) world rankings and according to UCI rules, it may send up to nine riders for the worlds road race.

    "We want to use as much as possible of the UCI's quota," said Steffen KjærGaard, sports director for the NCF. "For the first time in history we have the opportunity to come up with a full World Championship team. One of our limitations... is gone."

    This year has seen a changing of the traditionally European guard amongst nations at the top of the World rankings. The Netherlands and France find themselves able to select just six riders for the championship race after slipping down the UCI's list. Their departure from the top 10 has opened the door to nations including Great Britain, the United States and Norway, who will each be eligible to select nine riders.

    The NCF said a final selection for Norway's Worlds team would be made in September. However, it did confirm that the two riders solely responsible for Norway's position in the World rankings, Edvald Boasson Hagen (Columbia-HTC) and Thor Hushovd (Cervélo TestTeam), would be part of the team.

    All of Norway's 414 UCI points were provided by the two ProTour riders. Hushovd's win in the points competition at the Tour de France was proceeded by third place finishes at both Milan San Remo and Paris-Roubaix, giving him a total of 218 points. Boassen Hagen put the finishing touches on his own 198-point total at last week's Tour of Poland, where he won two stages and claimed third overall.

    Last year, Boassen Hagen was one of just three Norwegian riders eligible to start the World Championships in Varese, Italy.

    Norway has never won a men's elite World Championship medal.

  • Presbyterian Hospital Invitational extends to 2012

    The winner gets it all at the Presbyterian Hospital Invitational Criterium
    Article published:
    August 10, 2009, 18:23 BST
    Kirsten Frattini

    Organisers delighted as sponsors extend their contracts

    Sponsors of the Presbyterian Hospital Invitational have announced that they are back on board to run the event for another three years. Race organisers welcomed the surprise extension in light of a tough economic year that has seen several of the nation’s cycling events disappear from the calendar.

    "Our sponsors held back and made the announcement at the end of the race on Saturday night," said Thad Fischer, race director. "We had no idea that they were going to renew until about half way through the race. They had the contract and I looked for the dotted line to sign. We knew our sponsors were happy with the way things had gone in the last five years but with the economic times we weren’t sure. We are pleased to get the sponsors back."

    The twilight criterium held on the city streets of Charlotte, North Carolina has been a staple on the National Racing Calendar (NRC) for the past six years. The three supporting sponsors include the Presbyterian Hospital, Time Warner and University Volvo which have all extended funding until 2012.

    "The city has endorsed the event, with huge support and that’s difficult to get in a big city with so many other events going on with the NFL and NBA," said Fischer. "Our corporate leaders are behind the race because we get about 35,000 spectators and we build it in to make them feel like its Charlotte’s race."

    The Presbyterian Hospital Invitational has helped raise around four million dollars to benefit the Brain Tumor Fund for the Carolinas. The BTFC was founded in 2003. The non-profit group funds cancer research and the development of methods to detect tumors in their early stages. It is also dedicated to increasing public awareness of the impact of brain tumors.

    "We are not the only ones who raise funds for this organization but we are the focal point," said Fischer. "That’s what saves lives. Our race is a real win-win situation for people to be able to come out,...